Biobanking information and tips

How to improve the demand for biospecimens stored in your biobank?

How to improve biobank sustainability?

How to improve the demand for biospecimens stored in your biobank?

Acquisition and banking of biological resources will be entirely justified when researchers responsibly and efficiently utilise them. Some tips for making your biobank appealing to other researchers and increase the demand for your biospecimens are given below.

  • Have appropriate governance and structure

  • Acquire, process, store and transport samples as per well-established standard operating procedures (SOPs) and biobanking standards and biobanking or cell-banking best practices

  • Meet the current regulatory and compliance requirements

  • Have the capacity to meet researchers’ needs

  • Provide quality assurance and make quality control data available

  • Streamline sample/data access policies and quick material transfer agreement (MTA) execution processes

  • Have an open mind-set and ensure simplified systems for collaborations

  • Have transparent and flexible cost recovery policies

  • Be able to provide advice and troubleshooting support

  • Build trust and credibility

How to improve biobank sustainability?

Biobanking is an evolving area, and nearly two-thirds of biobanks were established for academic purposes. Despite the growth in translational research and higher demand for biospecimens, many biobanks are struggling to be sustainable, forcing them to cease active biobank management and convert the biospecimens into collections or shut down operations. The primary reasons for the closure of biobanks are diminishing funding, higher operational costs, the use of poor business models and the reluctance of institutes to investing in research infrastructure. In most of the biobanks, archived biospecimens are underutilised, and in many instances, the biobanker’s inability to externalise has been considered as one of the reasons.

 

Apart from ensuring effective biobank operations and risk mitigation, biobankers need to ask themselves a few critical questions for better future planning:

  • What would be the major research questions in our subject area?

  • What types of biospecimens will be needed to answer these research questions?

  • What research methodologies and technology platforms will be widely used to analyse samples and interpret results?

  • What would be the future research and technological trends, and how do the current consenting procedures, sample collection and storage methods need to be aligned to meet future demand?

  • Do we have productive networking with the leading researchers in these research areas?

  • Do we use the available media to increase the visibility of our resources?

  • Do we have the capability to provide services to meet the specific needs of these researchers?

  • Is there a long-term financial commitment from our stakeholders?

  • Are there any key institutional resources that can be leveraged?

  • Is our business model relevant to the current situation and favouring future growth?

Undertaking a biobank health check and discussing the best-suited business model and promotion strategies would help to improve sustainability and achieve the vision of biobanks

References

Watson, P.H., Nussbeck, S.Y., Carter, C. et al. A framework for biobank sustainability. Biopreservation and Biobanking. 2014; 12(1): 60 – 68. 

Vaught, J., Rogers, J., Carolin, T., et al. Biobankonomics: Developing a sustainable business model approach for the formation of a human tissue biobank. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs. 2011; 42: 24 – 31. 

Moore, H.M., Compton, C.C., Alper, J. et al. International approaches to advancing biospecimen science. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. 2011; 20: 729 – 732. 

Uzarski, D. Burke, J., Turner, B. et. Al. A Plan for Academic Biobank Solvency—Leveraging Resources and Applying Business Processes to Improve Sustainability. Clin Trans Sci 2015; 8: 553–557

Ratneswary Esa Sutharsan

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